Pakistani food in Austin
I imagine there are others in town, but probably the best is Shalamar on N. Lamar, just south of Rundberg next to La Michoacana (where you can get some of the best Mexican chow too).
The food there is quite distinctively different from other Indo-Pakistani places in town. They have goat on the menu which is nice, especially the sometimes hot Goat Karahi ( a chicken version is sometimes on their buffet). Buffet is ok, but I'm not a fan of buffets in general. Their version of saag paneer (can't remember what it's called) is the best in town that I've had. And the fellow who reviewed this place for that Austin alt-weekly paper agrees...I was with him when he did the review meal. Try it, I've lugged many folks over there and everyone has enjoyed the food.
There is a very favorable Chronicl review out there in cyberspace for Shalimar. I''ve been there for dinner and enjoyed it, though it's a low-service joint. Order at the counter from a backlit menu-sign, vinyl booth chairs, etc... That said, good and ample servings of a wide variety of items.
Some folks might have a problem with the ethics of Halal meat. Look it up, because I'm not an expert, but it's considered cruel by many.
On top of the good food, they have some of the best subcontinent desserts in town.
This is very interesting. I thought the Chronicle article was terrible, but then again, I'm of Pakistani descent. Having said that, the article does point out many dishes that are very Pakistani, and are not widely seen on the menus of Indo-Pak restaurants. I'm very curious to try this place out.
We asked the people behind the counter on Sunday if it was more Indian or Pakistani, and they told us, "Indian and Pakistani food is the same, only Pakistani food is more spicy." Obviously that's not entirely correct, but Shalimar certainly is that (spicy).
By the way, tried the Goat Karahi thanks to sambamaster's recommendation and it was amazing. Our food came out with the most wonderfully fluffy, buttery (or ghee-y?) naan I've ever seen. I'm never going to eat from the buffet again.